This book traces the development of the German Army League from its inception through the earliest days of the Weimar Republic. Founded in January 1912, the League promoted the intensification of German militarism and the cultivation of German nationalism. As the last and second largest of the patriotic societies to emerge after 1890, the League led the campaign for army expansion in 1912 and 1913, and against the growing influence of socialism and pacifism within Germany. Attempting to harness popular and nationalist sentiment against the government's foreign and domestic policies by preying on Germans' fears of defeat and socialism, the League contributed to the polarization of German society and aggravated the international tensions which culminated in the Great War. Coetzee combines an analysis of the League's principal personalities and policies with an exploration of the inner workings of local and regional branches, arguing that rather than having served solely as a barometer of populist nationalist sentiment, the League also reflected the machinations of men of education and prominence who believed that an unresponsive German government had stifled their own careers, dealt ineffectually with the prospect of domestic unrest, and squandered the nation's military superiority over its European rivals.
"The author adds significantly to our social, historical and political knowledge of Germany in the early 20th century."--Germanic Notes and Reviews
"A long overdue analysis of an important organization. It is well written, well documented, has a valuable bibliography and an adequate index. So long as the Sonderweg controversy continues, this book belongs close at hand for reference and further contemplation."--German Studies Review
"Coetzee's careful study of the German Army League sheds new light on political life during the final years of the Second Empire. By carefully examining the League's social composition and regional distribution, she conributes to our understanding of nationalism's strengths and limitations as a political force."--James J. Sheehan, Stanford University
"Solidly based on the existing literature as well as archival work primarily in West German repositories, this monograph deals with an association not previously studied in detail...it is a valuable addition to the growing literature on the growth of extra-parliamentary right-wing militarism in Germany before the First World War."--International History Review
"Coetzee shows that the Army League, founded in 1912, was the last in a chain of patriotic societies in pre-World War I Germany, created to combat socialism and pacifism, as well as to prepare society for what the founders of the patriotic associations felt was an inevitable armed conflict with the enemies of Germany. An original work, which does not compete with any published study. A valuable addition to a much debated period."--István Deák,
"[A] valuable addition to the growing literature on the growth of extra-parliamentary right-wing militarism in Germany before the First World War."--International History Review
"A solid first book."--European History Quarterly